Thanks to travel bans, quarantine, and a general inability to get out and explore, I didn’t expect to find much when I looked back at our 2020 photo catalogue. But thanks for some really good trips before travel restrictions began and some good ones after things began to open again 2020 hasn’t been the bust I had thought it was. Here’s some of my favorites from this truly bizarre year.
An area that I’ve really been trying to grow in as a photographer is taking pictures of strangers. There is no place quite as intimidating as the kıraathane, where the presence of an outsider usually causes quite the disturbance.
The Theatre of Termessos
The ruins of Termessos. The Pisidians were known for building their cities high in the mountains where the stunning views tend to eclipse the beauty of their monuments.
Sunrise over lake boats on Eber Lake
The hands of a craftsman testing the Ney he’s just finished making.
The entrance of Eşrefoğlu Mosque decorated with turquoise tiles, opening into one of the oldest wooden mosques in Anatolia.
Despite barely speaking, this is possibly the best tour guide I’ve ever had.
Early morning tea house.
Shepherds in the highlands of Afyon.
There’s nothing quite like the atmosphere of an abandoned Turkish Bath.
A beautiful work in progress. The ceramic ware of İznik is one of the most recognized symbols of Turkey.
The life blood of Turkey’s work force: black tea.
A pair of Turkish icons, the kebapçı and döner.
A potter concentrates as he applies a thin slip to a vase before firing it.
Having only managed to complete two out of the five travel goals from last year, this year’s plans haven’t changed much…
1 Lake Van (again)
After a bit of deeper digging I’ve found around a dozen abandoned monasteries in the bald mountains and islands of Van and Bitlis provinces. There is so much to explore here that the hard part is figuring out what to see first and what to leave off for now. Snow capped mountains, the pink blossoms of almond trees, Turkey’s largest lake, Armenian church ruins, and villages seemingly frozen in history make for one of Turkey’s most fascinating places to explore.
2 The Eastern Black Sea (again)
A great mark of shame against The Art of Wayfaring is just how little we’ve explored in the Black Sea. There are villages where people communicate using a whistling language, Greek and Armenian monasteries built into high cliffs, picturesque fishing towns, seasonal mountain villages for herdsmen, terraced gardens of brilliant green tea bushes, and mountain top villages that sit above a sea of clouds. Between the beautiful sights and amazingly unique cultural experiences it’s genuinely difficult to know what to see and do first in this vast region of remote towns and villages.
3 Isparta: The Rose City
Personally, Im not a fan of rose water, especially in food. That being said, the world of rose cultivation and processing that goes on in Isparta looks absolutely fascinating. Fields of roses gathered into mountains of rose petals are dumped into great presses and boilers to make many of the products that Isparta is famous for.
The province of Karaman won’t be found on any touristy must-visit list, but this mountainous region is home to some pretty unusual sights. Mountain top monasteries, ruined cities, and cliffs full of shuttered windows like some stone age high-rise are among some of the sights Karaman offers.
I’ve only got my eyes set on four destinations this year, who knows, maybe I’ll even get to them all this time!